El Malei Rekhemim – God Full of Wombs.
ShekhinahThe feminine name of God, expounded upon in the rabbinic era and then by the Kabbalists in extensive literature on the feminine attributes of the divine., Makor Hayyim – Divine Presence, Source of Life.
I come before You as did my ancestresses:
SarahThe first matriarch, wife of Abraham, and mother of Isaac, whom she birthed at the age of 90. Sarah, in Rabbinic tradition, is considered holy, beautiful, and hospitable. Many prayers, particularly the Amidah (the central silent prayer), refer to God as Magen Avraham – protector of Abraham. Many Jews now add: pokehd or ezrat Sarah – guardian or helper of Sarah., who laughed bitterly and said, “Ha’af umnam eyeleid – Shall I, in truth, bear a child?”
RivkaThe second Jewish matriarch, Isaac's wife, and mother to Jacob and Esau. Rebecca is an active parent, talking to God when she is pregnant and learning the fate of her children, then ultimately manipulating Isaac and the children to ensure Jacob's ascendancy. Her Hebrew name is Rivka., who cried out in pain, “Lamah zeh anokhi – why do I even exist?”
RachelLavan's younger daughter and Jacob's beloved wife second wife (after he is initially tricked into marrying her older sister, Leah). Rachel grieves throughout her life that she is barren while Leah is so fertile. Ultimately, Rachel gives birth to Joseph and dies in childbirth with Benjamin. Rachel is remembered as compassionate (she is said to still weep for her children), and infertile women often invoke Rachel as a kind of intercessor and visit her tomb on the road to Bethlehem., who said to JacobLit. heel Jacob is the third patriarch, son of Isaac and Rebecca, and father to the twelve tribes of Israel. More than any of the other patriarchs, Jacob wrestles with God and evolves from a deceitful, deal-making young man to a mature, faithful partner to God. His Hebrew name is Yaakov., “Haveh li banim v’im metah anokhi – give me children or I shall die!”
HannahHannah is the mother of the prophet Samuel, who, through her prayers, is rewarded a child. She herself is also considered a prophet. Hannah's intense devotional style of prayer becomes the model, in rabbinic Judaism, for prayer in general., who prayed fervently in her heart, the tears flowing from her eyes, “Im ra’oh tire’eh be’ani amatekha, u’zekhartani – Adonai Tzeva’ot, God/dess of Hosts, if You will look upon the suffering of your handmaid, if you will remember me, and grant me a son, I will dedicate him to you all the days of his life!”
Please, hear me now. Please hear us now.
I want so deeply to hold a child in my arms.
You who made the miraculous openings and closings of the body, who, in Your wisdom, shaped human beings just so, please tend now to my body and help me to bring forth new life, in your image, after your likeness. You who created all life, be a partner to me, in bringing a new life into this world.
I know that this journey is one that can be long, one that I may never see fulfilled in the way that I have always imagined. But I ask You to be with me along this journey, to spread over me the comfort of Your wings, the shelter of Your peace and protection. Help me [and my partner] to face whatever comes our way with strength, compassion and wholeness. May we be able to meet each step on this journey with courage and hope.
Berukhah at Shekhinah, rofah kol basar, u’mafliah la’asot.
Blessed are You, Divine Presence, Healer of All Flesh and Maker of Miracles.